Aldenham School is a very well-regarded independent school that offers an excellent education to pupils from the ages of 3 – 18 in a co-educational setting. The school accommodates boarders from the ages of 11 up with some 25% of secondary pupils residing at the school. Aldenham has a number of highly acclaimed sports programmes which have seen a number of pupils achieving national honours in their respective fields.
Aldenham is an ancient boarding school in the English Public School tradition. It is renowned as an academically successful school with a very strong and proud sporting heritage, particularly its football (soccer) and cricket programmes which have produced a number of professional players and have covered Aldenham in much glory.
The school is one of several under the auspices of The Aldenham Foundation, including the Aldenham Preparatory School division and St Hilda’s Preparatory School for Girls. In recent years the school has entered into partnerships with overseas operators to establish sister schools under the Aldenham brand. The first opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2022 and a Muscat, Oman branch is in the exploratory phase.
The school has attained a reputation as an institution with an extremely strong academic pedigree regularly sending pupils up to Oxford, Cambridge and other Russell Group universities. As a result, the school operates a selective admissions policy and is heavily oversubscribed. Aldenham School is a friendly, approachable school that offers a Public School education in a more familiar grammar school setting.
The school traces its history back to 1597 when the school’s construction began, following the awarding of Letters Patent the preceding year. The school’s founder, Richard Platt, was a respected brewer whose family was from Aldenham. He had been apprenticed to a London brewer at a young age and had a successful career in industry, taking over the Old Swan Brewery in James Street. He was recognised as a master brewer by the Worshipful Company of Brewers, one of London’s most estimable livery companies. He would later be granted citizenship of the City of London being made an Alderman and, ultimately, Sheriff of London.
In his later career, Platt was appointed governor of Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet and it was here that the idea of establishing a similar grammar school in his hometown of Aldenham was seeded. Queen Elizabeth’s School was founded in 1573 and was less than twenty years old when Platt took up the role of governor in 1591. He petitioned Queen Elizabeth I and was awarded Letters Patent in 1596 to build “a Free Grammar School and Almshouses” at Boyden’s Hill in Aldenham. Construction began the following year. Richard Platt was 73 and was keen to ensure a lasting legacy that included a school sponsored by his beloved Worshipful Company of Brewers.
Platt acquired some 110 acres of land in Aldenham which he transferred to the school when endowed in 1599 (or rather the charitable foundation which governs the school). To finance the endowment, he transferred funds from his own modest fortune and would make the school the beneficiary of proceeds raised by the estate established in his name in London (the Platt Estate being roughly approximate to the area that is now St Pancras station). The Platt Estate would be a separate charitable foundation which comprised some 20 acres of pasture and woodlands – nothing like the built-up inner city region that it is today. He entered into a covenant with the Worshipful Company of Brewers that saw them agree to sponsor the school as was a common feature of the early English grammar schools. Both estates and charities would be administered by the Brewers’ Company. With the formalities having been completed, Richard Platt died in 1600 when his new school was in its infancy. His will would provide that the Brewers must apply a portion of the estate proceeds to the payment of “beer money” to the pupils of the school in order that they might acquire beer to drink as the water was not considered safe for consumption. This tradition continues to stand today and Aldenham’s pupils participate in an annual visit to Brewers’ Hall to receive a payment of £5 each.
Platt also sought to establish a relationship with an Oxbridge College in a similar fashion to that of other endowed grammar schools of the time (notably Eton and Winchester). His son, Hugh, had attended St John’s College at the University of Cambridge and so it was that Platt would stipulate that the College should have the right to nominate three Masters of Arts (graduates of the Universities of Cambridge, Dublin or Oxford) from whom one would be selected by the Brewers’ Company for appointment as Headmaster whenever the position should become vacant. Catering primarily to boys of limited means from the immediate locality, as were the terms of the school’s foundation, Aldenham struggled to remain viable for much of its existence. Aldenham was a relatively small village and neighbouring towns already had established grammar schools for their local boys. Aldenham struggled to attract a significant number of pupils to allow the school to grow and to make its mark on education in the fashion that its founding benefactor had envisioned. As with many similar schools, the Headmaster was allowed to operate outside of the school’s charitable foundation’s terms in order to accept a few fee-paying pupils from outside of the locality in order to ensure a sufficient stipend to meet his own costs and the ongoing administration of the school. Such pupils would live-in with the Master of the school. The school ambled along, rather unremarkably, for some two centuries with little known of the Masters or pupils who attended the small school in the rural Home Counties. It remained an extremely small school with a limited number of fee-paying, boarding pupils in attendance. The school had faired well in comparison to some of its peers but had not attained the reputation that had been its goal. This would change, however, in the 19th Century when the school would undergo a number of reforms and would begin to garner a reputation for its academic pedigree, traditional ethos, and, especially, its sporting prowess. The impetus for reform largely came from the growth of urban London which, consequently, had greatly increased the value of the lands at Pancras. This land was ripe for development. This land value appreciation coincided with a period of reform within the Victorian approach to education and the movement towards providing universal education, especially for the working classes.
A report by the Education Charities Commission of the Poor was highly critical of the school and how it was meeting its duties under the terms of its charitable foundation. Aldenham was not alone in such findings, indeed, there was something of a national scandal regarding how supposedly charitable schools, whose primary purpose was to instruct boys of limited means from their immediate localities with a classical grammar education were in breach of their obligations. Many of these schools had long since exploited various loopholes to attract wealthier, fee-paying boys from across the country – a far more profitable and lucrative endeavour with, arguably, greater success sending boys up to the major universities. The Brewers’ Company were compelled into immediate action and set about transforming the school. In 1824, the original Tudor buildings were demolished and the school was split into two institutions, a Lower School educating local boys in keeping with the Foundation’s terms of establishment and an Upper Grammar School which would accommodate fee-paying boarders with a focus on preparing boys for entry into the top Universities or Imperial service. The school’s historic relationship with St John’s College would be amended and the convention for the appointment of Aldenham’s Headmaster would no longer continue.
Aldenham School would slowly start to see pupil numbers grow with the Brewers’ Company satisfied that the school was heading on the right track. The school was also developing a particularly strong reputation for sports and games with Aldenhamians feared for their athleticism. Many boys at the school enjoyed participating in the school’s own version of football, which was codified in 1825, making it the second oldest code in the world (after Eton Football). Aldenham lays claim to be the oldest organised football club in the world. Aldenham schoolboys were also well-regarded Fives players. With the school’s revised structures in place, the school would begin to attract greater attention. The increased revenues from the Pratt Estate would support the school’s continued growth and development and the construction of greater facilities and the hiring of talent to support the school’s endeavours.
In 1844, Reverend Alfred Leeman was appointed to the role of Headmaster who would be the architect of the school’s resurgence. His tenure would coincide with the emergence of the English Public School model that had flourished under Thomas Arnold at Rugby School and which had significantly changed the fortunes of many ancient endowed grammar schools in England. Rev. Leeman would institute a rigorous academic programme at Aldenham with the school establishing a strong Oxbridge list of prospective students to send up to the revered universities. Pupil numbers at Aldenham would surge and, for the first time in its long history, the school maintained a waiting list of applicants.
Despite Aldenham’s success under Rev. Leeman, the school would not escape the sweeping changes to the education sector of this time. The Taunton Commission had been tasked with exploring how the endowed grammar schools were disbursing the funds and dispatching their obligations as charitable foundations, with the outcomes not being favourable. The resulting Endowed Schools Act of 1869 would have a profound impact on such schools. The Act would create a commission that would have superior rights over the existing foundations and their trustees such that they could redirect the endowments’ funds and purposes to support the development of other schools, particularly girls’ schools and schools catering to poorer communities. For Aldenham, the creation of the Endowed Schools Commission coincided exactly with a compulsory purchase by the State of the lands that formed the Platt Estate at Pancras. The land was requisitioned for the construction of St Pancras railway station and related yards and railway lines for the Midland Railway Company. The Endowed Schools Commission would declare that half of the proceeds of that compulsory sale would be diverted to support newly established girls’ schools, namely the North London Collegiate School and Camden School for Girls, elementary schools across north London and surrounding counties. The decision was decried by the Aldenham community and watched with horror by other endowed grammar schools across the country for the precedent established. Aldenham’s then Headmaster called the decision “a violent act of confiscation”. The school’s revitalisation and growth plans would be severely impacted by the government’s decision to confiscate such a sizeable portion of the fund’s assets and capital.
The school’s governors recognised the urgent need to put the school’s future on a firm footing with a radical change in strategic direction. Reverend Leeman was succeeded as Head by John Kennedy who would embark wholeheartedly on this mission. He took the school from a student body of 47 in 1877 to over 175 by 1899 and brought in a number of new structures and traditions that would establish the school as one of Britain’s leading Public Schools. The school would embrace a House system (opening McGill’s House in 1887 as the first and Beevor’s House in 1895 as the second of the new boarding houses for boys in order to accommodate the growing enrollment numbers), prefect system (known as Praepostors in the Eton style), a dedicated games programme that would see the school properly competing against its more famous peers and a major overhaul of the campus with new buildings and facilities purpose-built to serve these new efforts and to bolster Aldenham’s standing as a great school. This period would also mark the emergence of Old Aldenhamians as leading figures in public and sporting life with many notable Old Boys achieving national and international fame. OAs would distinguish themselves, particularly, in military and imperial service and as first-class cricketers. Many more would enter the clergy and demonstrate Aldenham’s strong faith-based ethos.
The school would be recognised as a peer school to the leading Public Schools when Aldenham’s Head was accepted into the prestigious Headmaster’s Conference (HMC) in 1897. At that time the HMC was a limited and exclusive grouping of the school’s top independent boys’ schools that had been founded in response to the Clarendon Commission’s inquiry. The HMC was selective in admissions, with candidate schools being assessed for the quality of their programme, the number of pupils sent up to Oxford and Cambridge and the size of its student body. Aldenham has remained in association with the HMC ever since. In 1906 another new boarding house was established with Paull’s opening (this House is now for girls, both day and boarding). Aldenham is also a member of the Haileybury and St Albans Group, a select grouping of prestigious public schools, including both day and boarding schools, from across North London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire. The schools share both geographic proximity and a common ethos and educational philosophy. The schools share a semi-formal relationship with one another, exchanging ideas on admissions policy, educational approaches and strategic direction. The group is often compared to similar groups including the Eton Group, Monmouth Group, Oxford Group and Rugby Group in this respect. Both staff and students regularly attend Haileybury Group meetings and events, which include occasional competitions between the schools.
The school would be celebrated as one of England’s great Public Schools in various media during the inter-war period when a growing popular trend saw many such schools attaining cult status in the public eye. Publications such as ‘The Boys’ Own Paper‘ and the ‘Chums Annual‘ paid homage to Aldenham School alongside other illustrious fee-paying boarding schools. Aldenham, too, was to feature on a number of postcards displaying the arms of the great schools, the football colours of the leading schools and various cigarette card collections including the John Brumfit (Kenmore) ’The Public Schools’ Ties Series’ of 1925.
The school would be listed as one of England’s Public Schools in the Fleming Report of 1944 which would further explore how endowed schools’ funds were disbursed and the interaction between independent schools and the burgeoning State education sector. The school would continue to see celebrated past pupils dispatching themselves with aplomb in both Chambers of the Houses of Parliament and in diplomatic service of the Crown. The pedigree and character of such Old Aldenhamians would start to see a rise in the number of international boarders, many of whom were of great families in their home countries. Malaysia, in particular, would send many noble young men to Aldenham for their education.
In the 1970s, amidst another period of great reform in the education sector in the United Kingdom that would see many grammar schools closing, converting to comprehensive schools in the State sector or moving into the fully-independent sector, Aldenham made the decision to become co-educational and remain as an independent school (and not in receipt of grant-funding from Central Government). The school has continued to grow and adapt, celebrating 400 years of history in 1997 – an occasion marked by a visit from The Princess Royal, Princess Anne. To mark this auspicious occasion the school embarked on a significant plan for expansion which saw a nursery and pre-preparatory school opened in 2000 and a preparatory school opened in 2003 allowing the school to offer an all-through education for pupils aged 3 – 18. The school expanded its facilities to include a new music school, which also opened in 2000, new art studios and classrooms in 2005, a modern performing arts centre in 2007 and a dedicated Sixth Form Centre in 2012. In 2011, the Aldenham Foundation took over St Hilda’s Preparatory School for Girls to support its target of admitting more girls into the school. In 2022, Aldenham opened a preparatory school in Riyadh with plans to expand their offering to secondary-level and to open similar schools under the Aldenham brand in Muscat.
Life at Aldenham is heavily shaped by the school’s long history and boarding heritage. Founded as a classical Grammar school aligned to the Church of England, tradition plays a significant part in daily life at the school and many of the school’s rituals and routines are woven by the common fabric of the Anglican faith. The school is divided into several divisions, as is custom for independent schools in England, with a pre-preparatory and preparatory school and a secondary school that is divided into junior and senior departments. Pupils joining the secondary school in Years 7 and 8 enter the Junior School and are assigned to one of two Junior Houses. The remainder of the secondary school are assigned to one of the Senior Houses on entry and the Juniors will also move up to one of the Senior Houses in Year 9.
The Junior Houses are co-educational, whilst the Senior Houses are single-gender. The Junior Houses members may be boarders or day pupils, whereas the Senior Houses are further divided into boarding (a mix of boarders and day pupils) and day houses (no boarders). The various Houses have been named in honour of celebrated people associated with the school. Each House is staffed with a Housemaster or Housemistress (who lives in the House with their family if applicable), a resident Assistant Housemaster/Housemistress and a resident Matron. The Houses also have a duty Tutor attached to them to support the academic development needs of the resident pupils. They are supported in administering the House by the House Praes and the House Captain who are selected from the student membership Sixth Formers.
THE HOUSES OF ALDENHAM SCHOOL
A Senior house for boys, Beevor’s houses approximately 45 boarders amongst its 90 members. It is one of the older boarding houses at Aldenham, having been founded in 1895 and named for the house’s first Housemaster. Beevor’s members wear a red and black rep stripe tie with red and black being the House’s colours. Beevor’s has many unique traditions and customs, including House Suppers for special occasions which are always accompanied by a toast to Mr Beevor from all present. Similarly, pupils may be called upon to present a “Rec” (recital) which involves the reciting of a poem, joke or performance of a humorous nature. Life at Beevor’s is subject to supervision from the Housemaster and Matron with the House Captain and House Praes responsible for ensuring discipline is maintained.
Kennedy’s was founded in 1962 and is recognised by its combination of orange and black as its House colours (with pupils wearing orange and black rep-striped ties). It is a Senior Boarding House that is named for John Kennedy, the famed school Headmaster under whose watch the school’s fortunes were significantly turned around for the better. His son was also a Housemaster at the school. Kennedy’s is a House for boys only with approximately half its membership being boarders and the other half being day pupils. The House has a reputation as a sporty House having won the House Shield many times.
This is a Senior Day House for boys that was founded in 1991 and is named for Reverend Leeman, one of the school’s more famous Headmasters who sowed the seeds for the school’s emergence as a great Public School in the 1800s. The House is identified by the pink and black colours that they use to represent themselves. Leeman’s has been, arguably, the most successful House in recent years, regularly winning the Brewers’ Bowl or the House Shield. Leeman’s pupils that have made an outstanding contribution to the House may be awarded the rare prestige of House Honours and the associated Award Tie.
One of the two Junior Houses at Aldenham, Martineau’s is home to both boys and girls, boarders and day pupils in Years 7 and 8. House members will spend much of their time in-House, including at break times – a privilege not afforded to Senior Houses. Martineau’s is divided into four forms named; Elliott, Griffin, Mason, and Swayne. Even within the Inter-House structure, these forms have their own rivalry and intramural competition. In addition to the House Captain, each of the form tutor groups elects their own Captain. Martineau’s was established in 1993 and is distinguished by its green and black House colours.
Another of the Senior Houses for boys, McGill’s accommodates boarders and day pupils. It was the first of the new Boarding Houses at Aldenham (in actual effect the first Boarding House at the school under the House system). It is named for the first Housemaster, Mr McGill. As the oldest of the Houses at Aldenham, McGill’s is beset with quirks and traditions. Many of the rooms and spaces in the complex maintain their own unique names and old McGillians are celebrated throughout. McGill’s is the only House to have won the Double in recent years. McGillians are easily identified by their House colours of gold and black.
Founded as a Senior Boarding House for boys in 1991, Riding’s is now one of the two Senior Day Houses and is exclusive to girls. Riding’s House colours are blue and black and Riding’s girls wear a blue and black rep-striped cravat/tie. The House is named after a Mr Riding who was a teacher at the school.
One of the older Houses at the school, Paull’s was established in 1906 as a boys’ Boarding House. It has since become a Senior House for girls including a mix of boarders and day pupils. Paull’s main rival is Riding’s – the day girls’ house. The two regularly compete against one another for the Girls’ House Shield, with Paull’s being the more successful of the two. Paull’s has also been a prodigious challenger for the Brewer’s Bowl, winning more times than any other House. Paull’s House colours are sky blue, white, and black. The House is named for John Paull OA who was the first Housemaster and an accomplished academic and athlete who would win a Blue at Cambridge and who had represented the school in various varsity competitions.
The other of the two Junior Houses at Aldenham, Woodrow’s is a Day House accommodating girls and boys in Years 7 and 8. Like Martineau’s, the House is further split into four tutor groups, Beck, Collier, Foster, and Neale. These tutor groups compete against one another in internal competition and also against the tutor groups of Martineau’s, thus the Junior School at Aldenham has, effectively, its own Inter-House competition separate to that of the Senior Houses. Woodrow’s House colours are navy and burgundy with the House tie being a rep-striped tie in those colours. Woodrow’s is the newest House at Aldenham, having opened in 2020.
Approximately 25% of the secondary school’s pupils are boarders and much of student life at Aldenham is built around the needs and pastoral care of the boarders. The school offers a number of boarding options for pupils aged 11 and over, including Full Boarding, flexi-boarding, and day boarding. Rights to leave the campus on weekends are determined by a boarder’s status. A full suite of activities and events are scheduled to ensure that the residential experience at the school is fun and fulfilling.
Most days start with a service read by the Chaplain in the school’s chapel. School assemblies may also take place in Chapel. Typically this will be after breakfast and many boarders will take breakfast in their respective houses. Breakfast is also available in the main Dining Hall and many day pupils also take breakfast at the school. All pupils will then attend classes that are in accordance with the English Curriculum with pupils preparing to take G.C.S.E. and A-Level exams.
The school has a strong academic record and all Aldenhamians are expected to meet the school’s high standards. Self-study is highly encouraged and pupils have access to Tutors in their Houses to further support their academic progress. Evening study, known as Prep, is a supervised period in the evenings outside of normal class hours and many pupils will present for Prep. It is compulsory for most boarders but many day pupils will also attend.
The academic programme is complemented by a broad co-curricular program and self-development lessons focused on character-building as part of the school’s holistic approach to education. Aldenham’s ethos is embodied in what the school terms the “Aldenham Attributes” (which are: ‘Respect, Courage, Co-operation, Independence, Curiosity and Aspiration). Students are expected to adhere to the six attributes and demonstrate each in their own approach and work ethic. Pupils may participate in any number of activities, projects, and schemes typical of elite independent schools, including the Combined Cadet Force (Army and RAF sections at Aldenham); climbing clubs; debating society and the Model United Nations chapter; the Duke of Edinburgh award; or any one of a number of clubs and societies. Aldenham has a significant performing arts seam at the school, including nationally successful choirs, orchestras, and music ensembles. Dedicated arts and music facilities ensure pupils have access to the best resources to help grow their talents. Regular productions are performed throughout the year. Dance is a popular pursuit at Aldenham, straddling the school’s representative arts and sports programmes.
The school embraces student leadership and seeks to offer every opportunity to its pupils to participate in the school’s leadership body as Captains of Sport, or prefects. The school’s prefect system is known as the Prae, with prefects being known as Praepostors and may be either School Prae or House Prae. They play a role in maintaining discipline and order in the school. Praes are selected from the Sixth Form who have their own set of rights and privileges beyond that of the remainder of the student body. This includes access to their own dedicated coffee facilities and a weekend bar service.
Tradition plays a significant part in the lives of Aldenhamians, and the school’s academic calendar is punctuated by various traditional events and occasions celebrated by the school. Such events include: the Brewers’ Bowl – an inter-House competition which pits pupils against one another in a variety of academic, sporting and competitive disciplines (such as chess, debating, archery and others); the House Shield – a sporting competition between the Houses (the prestigious Double being won when a House has won both the Brewers’ Bowl and the House Shield); House Suppers (when the whole of a House gets together for a meal to celebrate important occasions such as Christmas – many Houses have their own set of unique traditions that may accompany this such as Beevor’s “Recs”); the annual “Eros to Eros” Run – an end of term tradition which sees pupils, parents, staff and OAs get together at Piccadilly Circus in the centre of London at 5:00 am to run the 14.5 miles to Aldenham School in order to raise funds for charity. Eros is the nickname given to the fountain sculpture at Piccadilly Circus and also to a sculpture on the grounds of Aldenham School and the Eros to Eros Run has been an annual fixture for the Aldenhamian community since 1977); Gaudy Day – a celebration day common to many schools in which pupils are encouraged to wear something especially gaudy and come together for a BBQ; and Visitation Day – the most important occasion on the Aldenham Calendar which marks the end of the academic year and a celebration of the graduating class with various speeches and a prize-giving ceremony.
Prizes awarded on Visitation Day, in front of friends and family, are considered the most prestigious performance awards given to pupils at Aldenham as part of a strict body of awards and sanctions that underpin life at the school. Aldenham pupils will be familiar with the Blues, Golds and Platinums system, with posters reminding them throughout the campus. A Blue at Aldenham is a sanction given for a minor infringement of the rules, procedures or expectations of behaviour. Multiple Blues will result in more serious, major sanctions, including detentions, suspensions or, ultimately, expulsion from the school. Conversely, Golds are awarded as merit prizes for good behaviour, performance or work turned in of an exceptional standard, as assessed against the six Aldenham Attributes. Platinums are awarded for particularly outstanding efforts and are subject to approval by the Head of School or Head of Foundation. A certificate is awarded to any pupil who attains a Platinum. At Aldenham, pupils may also be recognised within the various academic departments as the “Pupil of the Month” and may receive a Letter of Commendation which will be sent home to their parents. Both Houses and pupils may also be awarded an “Effort Cup” for efforts beyond the high levels already expected. A pupil who collects the most Gold merits, for example, may well be awarded the Effort Cup. Such merits and successes form the basis of deciding which pupils will be recognised with Visitation Day Prizes. Pupils may also be awarded ties recognising successful performance are representation in school sports, with such colours also being allowed for national and international achievements. Stricter punishments of a corporal nature, once standard at Public Schools, have long-since been ended at the school.
Aldenham is best known for its sporting tradition, with a track record as an extremely successful sporting institution. Cricket and Association Football are the school’s primary sports and the two in which the school has the strongest legacy. The school has built upon its football reputation in recent years partnering with a number of professional football clubs in the elite tiers of the Football Association pyramid. Many academy players are allocated places as boarders at Aldenham School where they may combine their contractual training obligations with the school’s first-class facilities and academically-challenging syllabus. Old Aldenhamians play in the Arthurian League for public school alumni. Aldenham long-played its own code of football, the rules of which were first transcribed in 1825 making it the second oldest formally known code after that played at Eton College. Aldenham Football was instrumental in the establishment of the code that has come to be known as Association Football, the world’s most popular sport. Aldenham also lays claim to being the world’s first known organised football club (although this is disputed).
The school also offers a number of other varsity-level sports including Athletics (Track & Field); Basketball; Cross Country; Golf; Hockey (Field); Netball; Rounders; Sailing; Tennis and Volleyball. In addition, the school has a number of Fives Courts and has a long history of the sport at the school. The Houses also compete against one another in many of these sports and other fun-day activities. Curiously, and unusually for a British Public School, Rugby Union is not played at Aldenham today although did enjoy a brief popularity in the 1990s.
In keeping with the slang and idiolect commonplace at other ancient boarding schools subscribing to the English Public School model, Aldenham has developed its own unique jargon over the years which is used by its community.
THE UNIQUE SLANG, JARGON, AND TERMINOLOGY OF ALDENHAM SCHOOL
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Campus and Facilities
Aldenham enjoys a large campus on the outskirts of London, occupying some 110 acres of land in London’s Green Belt. The campus is leafy with a distinctly rural character despite being only 14.5 miles from the centre of London. Aldenham itself is a small village near Bushey. It is located close to Watford, a major commuter town with various modern amenities. Aldenham is within easy reach of London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and is immediately beside London Elstree Aerodrome (a private airfield). The nearest National Rail railway station is Elstree & Borehamwood.
The school’s numerous buildings feature state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms and common spaces. Pupils may also enjoy the use of the school’s dedicated, fully-equipped music and performing arts facilities where regular productions are displayed. Aldenham has a large and well-kitted sports centre that serves the school’s elite-level sports and student-athletes. The school’s grounds include various sports facilities including cricket pitches, an all-weather hockey pitch, all-weather netball pitches, football pitches and athletics facilities (including asphalt running tracks), fives courts and an all-weather tennis court. The main school buildings are located between Top and Lower Playing Fields – the original playing fields at Aldenham. However, over the years the school has expanded its footprint significantly, such that there are now further outer playing fields for use by the various sports programmes. Small gardens and quadrangles are dotted sporadically throughout the campus, by the older school buildings and Boarding Houses (all of which are located on campus). The Eros statue by Top Playing Fields is an iconic symbol of the school.
The preparatory and pre-preparatory schools are located on the primary Aldenham campus whilst the Aldenham Foundation’s St Hilda’s Preparatory School for Girls is located a short distance away on the far side of Bushey.
The school’s grounds are adjacent to Aldenham Country Park and Hillfield Park. Aldenham Golf & Country Club is situated on the other side of Aldenham School by Aldenham village. Rival schools Haberdashers’ Boys’ and Haberdashers’ Girls’ Schools and the three schools share something of a rivalry.
Pupils may not leave the campus without expressed permission during the school day and Boarders may only leave when appropriate permission has been granted and any pupil caught “breaking bounds” will be subject to severe sanctions.
Aldenham operates an academically-selective admissions policy and pupils are expected to demonstrate sufficient academic results and to undertake the prescribed entrance examination. Overseas applicants will need to satisfy the school as to the candidate’s English-language abilities and appropriate visa status.
The school accepts applicants at several standard entry points, starting at 3+ in the Nursery department, 4+ in the pre-prep, 7+ in the prep, and 11+, 13+ and 16+ in the secondary school. Preference is given to pupils who are already at an Aldenham Foundation school (Aldenham Prep or St Hilda’s), however, all candidates must meet the school’s admissions criteria and academic standards. A place is not guaranteed for underperforming pupils or legacy applicants who do not conform.
Aldenham enjoys a close relationship with a number of independent preparatory schools in the area with many regularly sending pupils up to the school. The school does not offer junior boarding places but pupils may opt to reside in school on full or flexible boarding terms from the age of 11 (Year 7).
A number of bursary and scholarship schemes exist for gifted pupils who are able to demonstrate exceptional abilities in sports, music, choir or academic fields. All-rounder scholarships also exist. Full bursary schemes are only available on a means-tested basis for pupils who would not otherwise be able to afford a place at the school.
Aldenham School has a very eminent body of alumni, many of whom have occupied prominent positions in public life and in the nation’s eye. Since the school’s emergence as a venerable Public School under the reigns of Rev. Leeman and Mr. Kennedy, many OAs have been celebrated in various fields including military service, imperial, diplomatic and foreign service, ecclesiastical service, and in popular sports. The school has, traditionally, attracted the children of the professional middle classes with the occasional aristocratic or noble entrant, particularly from overseas dynastic families.
Old Aldenhamians count a number of prominent figures and celebrities among their members. They are entitled to use the post-nominal letters, OA and are invited to join the Old Aldenhamian Society (the OAS). It is a very active alumni association organising regular reunion events – the two biggest of which are OA Day, a summer party, and the OA dinner, a formal event. The society published the ‘Aldenhamiana’ magazine newsletter. OAs may also join the Old Aldenhamians Football Club (established in 1905) which competes in the Arthurian League for Public School Old Boys. Keen golfers may join classmates in the prestigious Public School Golf Society and compete for honours in the Halford Hewitt Cup). OAs who are still partial to a game of Fives may join peers at the Aldenham Fives Club and many participate in the Eton Fives Association. Old Aldenhamians also have their own Freemasonry Lodge (no. 4884) which meets in Duke Street, St James’ and enjoys some access rights to the RAF Club. The Lodge is a member of the exclusive Public Schools’ Lodges Council. OAs are eligible to join the East India Club (incorporating the Public Schools Club), subject to satisfying the membership credentials.
The Old Aldenhamian Society is the school’s alumni association and is a particularly active organisation. The OAS (as the society is known) maintains a database of past pupils and regularly organises events and reunions. OAs may stay abreast of happenings through the OAS magazine – ‘Aldehnamiana’. OAs may also join the Old Aldenhamians Football Club (established in 1905) which competes in the Arthurian League for Public School Old Boys. Keen golfers may join classmates in the prestigious Public School Golf Society and compete for honours in the Halford Hewitt Cup). OAs who are still partial to a game of Fives may join peers at the Aldenham Fives Club and many participate in the Eton Fives Association. Old Aldenhamians also have their own Freemasonry Lodge (no. 4884) which meets in Duke Street, St James’ and enjoys some access rights to the RAF Club. The Lodge is a member of the exclusive Public Schools’ Lodges Council. OAs are eligible to join the East India Club (incorporating the Public Schools Club), subject to satisfying the membership credentials.
Accreditations and Affiliations
Aldenham School is an accredited member of The Heads’ Conference (HMC) and the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS). As a recognised “Association” school, Aldenham is also a member of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and is subject to oversight by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). The school is also an approved member of the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA). The school’s staff and executive are also members of the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools (AGBIS), the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (ISBA) and The Schools’ Enterprise Association (SEA). Aldenham is also a member of the select Haileybury and St Albans Group of public schools convened by Haileybury and Imperial Service College.
NURSERY, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL
PRE-PREPARATORY AND PREPARATORY SCHOOL
SPORTS ACADEMY (ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL)
CO-EDUCATIONAL / MIXED (FORMERLY BOYS ONLY)
BOARDING & DAY
3 – 18
NURSERY – SIXTH FORM
SELECTIVE ENTRANCE SUBJECT TO EXAMINATIONS
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
IN LINE WITH NATIONAL GUIDELINES
ENGLISH NATIONAL CURRICULUM
INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS INSPECTORATE
ROLL NO: 6185
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION
FAITH / ETHOS
ANGLICAN (CHURCH OF ENGLAND)
PEDAGOGY / PHILOSOPHY
COUNTRYSIDE / RURAL / SUBURBAN
BEEVOR’S | KENNEDY’S | LEEMAN’S | MARTINEAU’S | MCGILL’S | RIDING’S | PAULL’S | WOODROW’S
DUKE OF EDINBURGH
MODEL UNITED NATIONS
VARIOUS CLUBS AND SOCIETIES
ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL (SOCCER)
ATHLETICS (TRACK & FIELD)
THE ALDENHAM FOUNDATION
PATRON / VISITOR
MRS ALEXANDRA HEMS (HEAD OF FOUNDATION)
HEAD OF SCHOOL
MR ANDREW WILLIAMS
822 PUPILS (111 BOARDERS)
AVERAGE CLASS SIZE
11 – 22 PUPILS
GBP £11,118 – £37,116 PER ANNUM
ADDITIONAL FEES AND CHARGES APPLY
SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES & FINANCIAL AID
BURSARY SCHEMES AVAILABLE ON A MEANS-TESTED BASIS.
A VARIETY OF SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES EXIST FOR ACADEMICALLY, ARTISTICALLY AND / OR ATHLETICALLY GIFTED CANDIDATES
GBP £16.1 MILLION
ALDENHAM PREP SCHOOL
RADLETT PREPARATORY SCHOOL
ST MARTIN’S SCHOOL, NORTHWOOD
NAVY SCHOOL BLAZER, WHITE SHIRT, DARK GREY/BLACK TROUSERS OR PLEATED NAVY TARTAN SKIRT, SCHOOL/HOUSE/AWARD TIE, NAVY V-NECK SWEATER AND BLACK SHOES.
SIXTH-FORMERS MAY WEAR A BUSINESS SUIT TOGETHER WITH A WHITE SHIRT AND SCHOOL/HOUSE/AWARD TIE.
SCHOOL UNIFORM IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE HERE.
BOAT CLUB COLOURS
ACCREDITATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
ATHLETIC CONFERENCES & SPORTS LEAGUES
SISTER SCHOOLS & PARTNER SCHOOLS
ST HILDA’S PREPARATORY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
ST JOHN’S COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
IN GOD IS ALL OUR TRUST
“LAUDATE NUNC PRAETORITOS” (LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN)
CELEBRATED ALUMNI & FACULTY
AL-SULTAN ABDULLAH, 6TH SULTAN OF PAHANG; ERIC ARMAR VULLY DE CANDOLE; SIR WALLACE AKERS; BARONESS KAREN BRADY; RT. HON. STANLEY BUCKMASTER, 1ST VISCOUNT BUCKMASTER, LORD CHANCELLOR; ALAN CAMPBELL, BARON CAMPBELL OF ALLOWAY; DANIEL CHATTO; SIR WILLIAM LAIRD CLOWES; COL. SIR ROBERT EDIS; LT. GEN. SIR GEOFFREY CHARLES EVANS; GEN. SIR RICHARD GALE; SIR ALFRED GILBERT; PETER HAIGH; SIR MICHAEL KERR; SIR HUGH LADDIE; PETER LAWRENCE OPPENHEIM LEAVER; RT. HON. HASTINGS LEES-SMITH, MP; ACM SIR NIGEL MAYNARD; COL. SIR MICHAEL MCCORKELL; ARNOLD MCNAIR, 1ST BARON MCNAIR; SIR DAVID MITCHELL; TUANKU MUNAWIR IBNI ALMARHUM TUANKU ABDUL RAHMAN, 9TH YANG DI-PERTUAN BESAR NEGERI SEMBILAN; TUANKU MUHRIZ IBNI ALMARHUM TUANKU MUNAWIR, 11TH YANG DI-PERTUAN BESAR NEGERI SEMBILAN; DANIEL OYEGOKE; SIR KENNETH PICKTHORN, 1ST BARONET; SIR VINCENT RAVEN; SIR DENIS ROBERTS; SIR ALAN ROSE; SIR HAROLD SMEDLEY; SIR MARTIN SWEETING; SIR CHARLES TODHUNTER; FM RICHARD VINCENT, BARON VINCENT OF COLESHILL; SIR KENNETH WARREN; SIR SAMUEL WILKS, 1ST BARONET; MAJ. GEN HARRY WILLANS; DALE WINTON; RT. HON. THOMAS MCKINNON WOOD, MP; PAUL YULE
HERTFORDSHIRE WD6 3AJ
ALDENHAM ROAD, ELSTREE, HERTFORDSHIRE WD6 3AJ, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
NURSERY, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL
PRE-PREPARATORY AND PREPARATORY SCHOOL
SPORTS ACADEMY (ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL)